Dynamic Balance

Here are ten areas of focus and tips to improve dynamic balance and athletic, centered movement on the tennis court.

  1. Practice hitting from a lower center of gravity with a wide base of support. Maintain a low center of gravity with the position of your head approximately one foot lower in height when in the ready (or ideal athletic) position.
  2. Bend with your knees and hinge with your hips to load and get down as necessary for each shot. Maintain an alignment with you shins and torso. Approach each shot with your legs and core muscles as if you are preparing (or bracing) to strike (or resist) a heavy object.
  3. Keep your head as still as possible and centered over your hips (belly button). At the same time, maintain a level, horizontal position with the shoulders. Minimize any bobbing and side to side rotation of your head. Maintain your eyes on the point of contact through the follow through and completion of your stroke.
  4. Use your non-dominant hand and arm to maintain balance and coordination in tracking and moving to the ball and to facilitate proper weight transfer and trunk (or hip) rotation.
  5. Be active with your feet. Use short adjustment steps to establish an ideal centered hitting position. Be careful not to compensate for poor footwork (lazy feet) by overextending and reaching out with your hands and racquet.
  6. Be fluid and relaxed with your stroke patterns particularly with the follow through.  Hit with “soft” hands.
  7. Include core stability exercises to strengthen your abdominal and lower back muscles in your training regime. Core strength is critical to maintaining proper balance and posture.
  8. Secure your balance by holding the finish of each shot for a “one thousand”, “two thousand” count.
  9. As the first step in a progression to establish proper balance and weight distribution for the serve), hit serves with both feet planted on the ground (without lifting the heel of either foot off the court).
  10. There are many other on-court hitting exercises to improve balance.  Examples include hitting while balancing an object such as a towel on your head, hitting open-stance forehand and backhand groundstrokes (in response to balls fed to your strike zone) without lifting your heels off the court (similar to the serve example above), hitting forehand and backhand groundstrokes and volleys while balancing on one foot, and running around your forehand (backhand) groundstroke to hit a backhand (forehand) groundstroke.

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